Passport required to enter United States

September 1, 2007

Passport required to enter United States

U.S. Passport

There's a new item to add to your preflight checklist when flying outside the United States: Passport on board? Starting January 23, you'll need a passport to reenter the United States, even from Canada and Mexico.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, set forth by an act of Congress in 2004, requires everyone — including children — who travels by air to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to have a passport to reenter the United States.

The passport requirement can be waived under certain circumstances.

  • Personal emergency situations
  • Reasons of humanitarian or national interest
  • Lost or stolen passport (while overseas)

But if you just don't have a passport or forgot it, you will be delayed and have to go through extra screening. The Customs and Border Protection officials will use what proof of ID and citizenship you have to verify your information against its databases.

January 9, 2007